General

Tuesday December 28, 2004

I’ve seen first-hand the devestation of a natural disaster in El Salvador (earthquake, 2001).  And the years of hardship & reconstruction that followed Hurricane Mitch (1998) in Honduras.  I know what life is like, and what it will be like in the Indian Ocean area for years to come after this disaster.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the news for about 5 minutes.  Or hit your favorite news website.  On December 26, massive tsunami hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and other countries that border the Indian Ocean.  The current death toll is around 33,000.  But many are still unaccounted for.  And more will likely die due to contaminated water supplies, and lack of access to food and medical supplies.

Entire towns have been wiped out.  Businesses destroyed.  Homes demolished.  Roads are blocked or washed away.  Communication lines damaged.  Life in these areas will not be normal for a long time.

But the good news is that positive things can happen in the wake of such tragedies.  Emergency relief is pouring in from around the world.  Christian organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and WorldVision are some of the first responders to disasters bringing in food, medical supplies, water filters, and temporary shelters.

But these organizations don’t stop with emergency relief.  They stick around to help rebuild the communities.  In El Salvador, Samaritan’s Purse built 750 permanent homes in addition to providing 4,000 temporary houses and tent material for 8,000 families as well as many other necessities.  But even beyond long-term help, the presence of Christian aid workers has had a long-lasting impact on the communities.  Churches have been established.  Living conditions have been improved.  The doors have been opened for missionaries and local Christian leaders to work together to bring people to Jesus.

If you want to help these organizations to provide emergency supplies and establish long-term aid for victims of the tsunami, visit any of these websites:

Samaritan’s Purse – www.samaritanspurse.org

World Vision – www.worldvision.org

Food for the Hungry – www.fh.org

OK, I’m jumping off my soapbox now.

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2 thoughts on “Tuesday December 28, 2004”

  1. On Drudge today:
    The death toll from the Indian Ocean tsunami catastrophe was predicted to climb pass 60,000 last night as the worst-hit nations struggled to deal with their dead and survivors, including at least a million people left homeless.
    More than two days after a massive seabed earthquake off Indonesia triggered a chain of destructive waves up to 10 metres high, rescuers were finding more death the further they ventured into outlying areas of the affected countries.
    The United Nations said hundreds of relief planes packed with emergency supplies from many nations would arrive in the region within 48 hours.
    While the official toll across 11 countries last night stood at more than 30,000, unofficial predictions suggested the final count was likely to rise well above 60,000.
    In Indonesia, the official death count in the battered province of Aceh – the closest land mass to the quake – climbed above 7000 last night and could eventually top 25,000, officials warned.
    In Sri Lanka, the toll soared above 18,000 and officials said it could eventually reach 25,000.
    Indian officials said at least 7000 were now feared dead in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, revised up from 3000, and Thai authorities said the number of people swept to their deaths in the crowded southern tourist resorts might ultimately exceed 2000.
    Eight Australians had been confirmed dead by last night, including seven in Thailand, with grave fears held for another 10. Among the missing Australians is Melbourne AFL player Troy Broadbridge, who was in the Thai tourist haven of Phi Phi on his honeymoon when he was swept away from his wife, Trisha, as they walked on the beach.
    Foreign Minister Alexander Downer warned that the Australian death toll was likely to climb. “Our concerns still run very deeply for many Australians and I think the community should be prepared for a relatively high death toll,” he said.
    Australia stepped up its contribution to the international aid effort yesterday, with a team of forensic experts who helped identify victims of the 2002 Bali bombings sent to fulfil a special request from Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for help in identifying victims.
    Four specialist medical teams have also been assembled by the federal and state governments.
    Thousands of kilometres of coastline from Indonesia to Somalia were battered by Sunday’s deadly waves. Rows of bodies covered in plastic sheets, mats or blankets were laid out on the ground throughout the region.
    The United Nations said the disaster was unique in encompassing such a large area and so many countries.
    “The cost of the devastation will be in the billions of dollars,” said Jan Egeland, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
    “However, we cannot fathom the cost of these poor societies and the nameless fishermen and fishing villages… that have just been wiped out. Hundreds of thousands of livelihoods have gone.”
    – with Reuters, AAP

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